The Great Disconnect


Our society really does not spend time preparing hapless adults to parent.

Children — especially babies — are  little and vulnerable, vulnerable to the large, often clueless adults who care for them. Put yourself in a baby’s situation. Preverbal for years, it must be frustrating to be tired or in pain, only to have a bottle thrust into your mouth or have a tense, upset mother try to nurse you when your stomach is bloated with burps.

This disconnect does not end once children can communicate. Nope, our adult reasoning simply does not always compute in little brains. Why, I have been told that human beings do not get their adult brain till they are 25 years old! Apparently, the frontal lobe that makes sane, rational decisions is not fully developed till the mid-twenties.

That means for almost a quarter of a century, humans need a special kind of love and nurturing that will not only meet them and connect with them right where they are, but guide them gently without controlling them and stunting their own growth intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

The best mothers are willing to learn from their offspring, from books, from experience and from others. Good mothers need a wonderful sense of humour to laugh at their own blunders, to laugh at their kid’s blunders. Openness to trying new tactics helps, as does creativity, but most of all they need to be intuitive, listening to their little ones’ body language and tone of voice and their own gut feelings and instincts.

The best parents also know how to ask God to parent each, individual little person in their care because, after all, He knew them before they were knit in the womb. The best parents know how to let God be in control of their parenting.


  1. I really enjoyed this reflection, Melanie! I’m always amazed and humbled, too, about how very different each of my children are. Just when I think I have things figured out, one my kids throws me for a loop! My third child, Dominic, is extremely sensitive, but doesn’t like to be hugged, while my Claire is very independent but wants to snuggle all the time. I have to breathe, watch, and listen, and permit the Blessed Mother to teach me what I need to know every single day of my mothering. But this is also part of the joy, isn’t it? The continual unfolding before us of who are children really are, and where God plans to take us with them.

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